Ag Sciences faculty members honored for international efforts

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Two faculty members in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are among five people honored by the University's Office of Global Programs with 2013 Spirit of Internationalization Awards.

These annual awards honor women from Penn State and the local community who embody the "spirit of internationalization" through academic achievements, artistic excellence and volunteerism in international organizations or dedication to advancing the status of women.

The college's honorees were Kathleen Kelley, associate professor of horticultural marketing and business management, and Audrey Maretzki, professor emeritus of food science and nutrition. They received the awards at a March 12 breakfast commemorating International Women's Day, which was observed worldwide March 8 to bring attention to global women's issues.

Kelley has been instrumental in developing international/multicultural learning opportunities for students, according to Deanna Behring, director of international programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences, who nominated Kelley for the award.

"Since 2006, she has co-led international embedded courses to Holland, France and Ireland to introduce students to a variety of landscapes, horticultural businesses and cultural sites," Behring said.

She noted that in 2007, Kelley was recognized by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation for more than 500 hours of volunteer work with the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs. "Dr. Kelley worked with farmers in Ukraine to help determine potential markets for their fruits and vegetables, with agribusiness dealers to help develop business plans and marketing strategies, and with groups of farmers to help develop cooperatives for business growth."

Behring said in addition to leading the charge to develop a strategy for the internationalization of the college's Department of Plant Science, Kelley is pursuing international research opportunities in the wine industry to help Pennsylvania wine growers understand global market opportunities.

"She spent a sabbatical in New Zealand in 2011 to learn new wine-marketing strategies and also is working with colleagues in Australia. In addition, she has visited wineries in Argentina, Chile, Germany, Greece, Italy, South Africa and Turkey."

Maretzki is a pioneer in the study of the social, political, environmental, family and community influences on how populations secure the foods they eat, according to Robert Lumley-Sapanski, facilities coordinator in the Department of Food Science, who has worked with Maretzki on the board of directors of the United Nations Association of Centre County.

"In many cultures of the world, food acquisition is a responsibility of women, and thus her research involved empowering women to understand and take a greater role in the process," he said. "She became involved in research projects on nutribusinesses, the goals of which are to enable rural women to elevate their own economic status while improving the health of infants, children and other nutritionally vulnerable individuals."

Lumley-Sapanski also cited Maretzki's work as co-director of the Penn State-based Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge, the only active global indigenous knowledge resource center in the United States. She helped organize the first International Indigenous Knowledge Conference at Penn State, which was attended by more than 100 guests from 17 countries.

"She also has been very involved in the Norman E. Borlaug African Women in Science program at Penn State," he said, noting that the program she led brought women scientists from Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and Mali to conduct research at the University.

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Last Updated March 25, 2013